From being drafted behind 15 other defensive backs in the 2013 NFL Draft to signing with the Texans six years later, Tyrann Mathieu describes it all in a new essay he penned for the popular player POV website, Players' Tribune.
"I'm not gonna lie: After the Cardinals let me go, of course I was kind of hurt," Mathieu writes. "But at the same time, it was also pretty dope to see J.J. Watt openly recruiting me to play on his team. I wasn't super highly-rated coming out of high school, so I'd never really experienced what it was like to have a lot of people openly lobbying for me to play for them. I let myself enjoy that."
Mathieu is referring to Watt's tweet days before he signed with Houston. The two are represented by the same agent, Mathieu said at his introductory press conference on March 19.
In Mathieu's piece, titled "Thank you, Arizona," he even recounts the time his family evacuated after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Mathieu was just 13, but vividly described what life was like in a Louisiana shelter before coming to the Houston area.
"We had to eat these beans that were as hard as bullets," Mathieu said. "I can still feel the crunch in my mouth when I think about it. I watched a baby fall off four bunk beds that were stacked on top of each other, crying the whole way down. There were all sorts of drugs, fights and destruction all around me. Just desperate, desperate people in a desperate situation."
The All-Pro safety has overcome a mountain of adversity to prove that he is a playmaker in the NFL, but his story is far from finished. Mathieu says he hopes bring an NFL championship to the city of Houston.
"I like that I'm a hungry player coming to a hungry organization," Mathieu said. "I expect this to be a big year. It's not enough to just make the playoffs, I want to win a Super Bowl here."
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The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 2/24/2021)